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'Only dialogue can resolve Kashmir issue,' concur former ISI, RAW chiefs

Updated October 08, 2017
Former RAW head Amarjit Singh Dulat with former ISI director general  Ehsanul Haq in London.—Photo courtesy Ayesha Siddiqa Twitter account
Former RAW head Amarjit Singh Dulat with former ISI director general Ehsanul Haq in London.—Photo courtesy Ayesha Siddiqa Twitter account

India has created a “mess” in Kashmir in the past 15 months, India’s former Intelligence chief was quoted as saying in an article by The Hindu.

“It is high time we started talking,” said Amarjit Singh Dulat, former Research and Analysis Wing head, during a debate with former Pakistani head of intelligence Ehsanul Haq in London, reported The Hindu.

The event, titled 'Spymasters Speak: Can Intelligence Agencies Do Good?', that brought together the two top figures from both intelligence services was organised by the London School of Economics’ South Asia Forum in collaboration with LSE Pakistan Development Society on Friday night.

Opening the debate, Haq, the former director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) said that the situation in Kashmir had taken a ”turn for the worse” since last July, Radio Pakistan reported. He said that Indian forces had tackled protest with singular ruthlessness and indiscriminate use of pellet guns, adding that "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his extremist allies were using harsh rhetoric against Pakistan to electoral and political advantage."

“If left unresolved, it [Kashmir dispute] will keep returning as a crisis with increased intensity — there are no problems between the two countries that can’t be resolved through dialogue,” The Hindu quoted him as saying.

Concurring with Haq, Dulat said, “Heavy handedness has never worked in Kashmir […] actually it doesn’t work anywhere as we’ve seen recently in Spain. Kashmir needs to be discussed and discussed upfront, not only between us but between Delhi and Srinagar.”

A longstanding dispute

Relations between India and Pakistan with relations to Kashmir have been tense recently with both sides reporting frequent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan forcefully took up the issue of India-held Kashmir and the human rights violations committed by India at the United Nations General Assembly, as well as the 36th session of Human Rights Council.

Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi had told the General Assembly that India's military occupation of Kashmir was illegal as the UN Security Council had, in over a dozen resolutions, decided that the dispute must be resolved by enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own destiny through a UN-supervised plebiscite.

She had also urged the international community to stop India from ceasefire violations on the LoC. Pakistan wants a resolution of all outstanding issues through talks, she had said, adding that India will have to give up the policy of terrorism.

Lodhi recalled that India's brutal occupation of Kashmir has killed over 100,000 innocent Kashmiris, saying although India had launched a campaign of brutality inside Kashmir — including the shooting and blinding of innocent Kashmiri children with pellet guns — yet, it had failed to subdue these Kashmiri children, women and youth who come out on the streets almost daily to demand that India get out of occupied Kashmir.

“India cannot hide behind semantics. Any interstate dispute, like Kashmir, is by definition an ‘international’ dispute. If the parties fail to resolve a dispute, the UN and the international community has not only the right but the obligation to intervene and help to resolve the dispute,” she had said, adding that as a pre-condition for a fruitful dialogue, India will have to shun the policy of terrorism and supporting terrorism in Pakistan.